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Do romantic movies set unrealistic standards in relationships?

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at DePauw chapter.

I recently watched the movie Divergent with a friend, and after watching the character Four risk his own life for his love interest, Tris, I realized I should set higher standards for what I want in a relationship. But is that true or do these movies set unrealistic standards for us in relationships?

A study done in 2014 by the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology says that having these high and “unrealistic” expectations in a relationship can actually have negative impacts on it, but whether or not you choose to believe that is up to you. 

On one hand, I can see how watching movies can set unrealistic expectations in a relationship. For example, it isn’t very likely that the world will enter its “Hunger Games Phase”. So it wouldn’t make much sense for me to see Peeta beg Haymitch to protect Katniss in the Quarter Quell and then wish my significant other did the same. It also wouldn’t make sense to watch Flynn Rider save Rapunzel by cutting her hair and then expect the same from my significant other…because realistically my hair would never be made of magic.

These movies about love make us want to fall in love, which leads to us settling for someone. We try to find someone “close enough” to Peeta’s caring personality, or someone who is a “close enough match” to Four’s bravery. We shouldn’t be looking to these fictional characters to see how we should be treated in a relationship because, well, it’s fictional.

On the other hand, I think that watching these romantic movies can help show us not to settle. Yes, Repunzel lives in a world with magic and evil witches and we do not, but if you break down the movie, you see how Flynn Rider and Repunzel would do anything for each other because they love each other. As children watching Disney movies, we see that we should be with someone for love, despite their social standing and everything else.

All in all, I believe romantic movies can set higher expectations, while also lowering them. But I think that behind every single romantic movie, no matter how unrealistic it is, the overall theme of love connects with the audience. Because even though we don’t live in a world with the Hunger Games and different factions like in Divergent, we live in a world with so much love.

Hi, I'm Coryn, a freshman at DePauw University and am planning on majoring in English and Writing!